Authors' Spotlight


Today I’ll be hosting author R.T. Islington on my blog. His recent novel is “Tales of Dragons Continent: Killing Monsters”.

Me: Have you always been a reader?

R. T. Islington: Yes! When I was a kid the first major series of books I read were the Goosebumps books by R L Stine.

These children’s horror stories had a huge impact on me growing up and I read many of them! Return of the Mummy and The Werewolf of Fever Swamp were my favourites.

Naturally as I grew up, I started reading Tolkien’s works which are master pieces. Bram Stokers Dracula is perhaps my favourite novel and the gothic horror to it triggered my creativity and imagination.

I read a lot of books about mysterious creatures and alien abductions. Greek and Japanese mythology is what really sparked my imagination as well as the art from these incredible cultures.

Recently I have read A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin and Nevernight by Jay Kristoff.

Me: What are the genres you read the most?

R. T. Islington: Fantasy! I always make time to visit the local bookshops to seek out different takes on the fantasy genre.

I’m currently working my way through the Tales of Redwall books by Brian Jacques. This is also fantasy however the characters are woodland animals such as mice, badgers and rats etc.These books are really fun and provide a different take on the fantasy genre.

Authors' Spotlight


Today I’ll be hosting author Alexis Dees on my blog. This her upcoming novel “Masqueraded: Act One ” is up for pre-order on Amazon.

Me: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Alexis: Yes! The world of literature, writing and reading, has pretty much been synonymous with my name. My mom was an English teacher when she was pregnant with me, so I like to cite that as contributing factor to that. Even since elementary school I always spent my free time reading and writing and that has never left me.

Me: Did you already know what you exact wanted to work upon?

Alexis: Pretty much, but it was more of a general idea. I’ll read any genre under the sun, but my favourite to read (and write) is the dark fantasy or paranormal thriller genre. And I feel like amusement attractions are an underutilized story base despite the infinite potential. There are two books on circuses and two books on amusement parks that I’ve come across, but that’s been pretty much it. And I’m a sucker for stories with a macabre twist to them so I wanted to create a story that touched on all of that.

Me: Circus, carnival and dark magic, an unique and eerie combination. What made you mix these 3 elements?

Alexis: The combination of polar opposites is a fascinating oxymoron. Circuses, carnivals, and such are generally thought to be exciting, entertaining, and enjoyable. Magic innately comes to mind in association with them too, but usually in a more positive sense. Putting a more ominous element to them adds a nice complex contrast. So much in reality isn’t an either-or kind of thing, but somewhere in the middle or both either and or. It’s just something that inherently piques curiosity and lures you in.



Today I’ll be hosting author Jasmine Farrell on my blog. Release:You is her recent release.

Me: What sparked your initial love for poetry?

Jasmine: What sparked my initial love for poetry was the internal rhyming and free verse that I heard in the second grade.  My second-grade teacher, Steve, had a thing for poetry. I remember sitting on one of the red benches at the “meeting area” with my peers and listening to Steve recite a poem. I can’t recall the poem. I do remember the clicks, rhymes and sways of diction and allegory dancing from his lips. It was awesome. We had two poetry nights that our parents attended and I wrote about sneaking into the kitchen at midnight to eat snacks. Although I was putting myself on blast in front of my mother, it felt good to poetically spin a tale of child-like desires for sweets. I still have midnight cravings for snacks. Half of the time I curb them.

Me: How do you develop your poems? Can you guide us through the stages?

Jasmine: It all depends. Most of the time, my pieces are created with the intent to release something within me: Infatuation, happiness, rage, anger, heartache, loving deeply, etc. It starts off as a word vomit. I freely write without judgement. A day later, I’ll read the piece and refine it. Leave it alone for another day and revise.

Me: You have now released 3 poetry collections under the Releaseseries. All of them at some level is about ‘letting go’ and ‘healing’. What do these two terms specifically mean to you?

Jasmine: Healing to me is the process of freely recognizing a former ache, trauma or offense without feeling a tug at your heart. It’s crying out the past heartbreak. It’s seeing a therapist to help you make sense or process your emotions. It’s forgiving yourself and then forgiving the one who offended you (that does not mean you have to rebuild a relationship with that person of course). Healing is giving yourself space to be angry, sad, scared and hurt at a traumatic experience. From there, you can let it go with personal boundaries in mind. Letting go to me is to dropping your voice on paper.

Authors' Spotlight


Today I’ll be hosting author Dalandra Young on my blog. Her book through exciting adventures shows children ho much fun school can be.

Me: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Dalandra: I created my first character when I was just 14 years old and continued to draw him, along with 9 other characters that I named Noonimals. The name “Noonimals” originates from my nickname as a baby, which was Nooni. I was having a conversation with my mother one day and decided I would use my characters to help children overcome fears and concerns that are faced on a daily basis. I then begin to write stories that stemmed from events that went on in my life as a young child.

 Me:    What made you take the specific subject and pen down The Land of Noonimals?

Dalandra: I came up with the idea of children using their imaginations to enter another dimension by way of a magical train ride into the land where Noonimals would reside.

Me:     Why choose to write for children?

Dalandra: Writing for children came so natural for me once my characters were all created. It seemed more logical to use the big fun animals to capture the hearts of kids around the world with imagination, love and adventure while offering ways to approach the issues that young children are faced with in their everyday life.

 Me:  The first few days of a new school can indeed be hard for some children. It certainly was for me. How do you intend to impact them through your book?

Dalandra: The Noonimals have an exciting day planned for Michelle when she arrives in the Land. They teach her how much fun school can be and how easy it is to make friends and have fun while learning. She enjoyed her day so much that when she returned back to reality she was so excited about going to her school.

Authors' Spotlight


Today I’ll be hosting author Andrew Joseph Zaragoza on my blog. His upcoming poetry collection ‘XI: A Collection of Poetry on Being Human’ is available to pre-order at: store.bookbaby

Me: What sparked your initial love for poetry?

Andrew: I remember enjoying poetry as soon as I began to read. Shel Silverstein and his illustrations were what kept me up most of my days and, of course, Tumblr quotes. It wasn’t until I took some time off and switched over to Hip-hop that I enjoyed poetry much more because of the rhythm and style a lot of my influences have. Later, as I started college, I was working and made money to by myself books and start my own library. That is when the real magic began to happen as I got to read more about Charles Bukowski, Michael Faudet, Atticus, Lang Leav, and many more. I have a whole selection dedicated to poetry. But Charles Bukowski remains one of my more favorite poets due to his character and writing topics. The Most Beautiful Girl in Town is something that I’d recommend to the readers and is a basis for some of the feelings I try to evoke.

Me: How long did it take to pen down your debut?

Andrew: In 2017, It took me about 3 months to write the manuscript out of a journal I bought at the local store. Every day in the winter, I’d write something that came to my mind to process what I went through during that time. It was a challenging period as I was experiencing burnout of multiple commitments and the angst of my early 20’s as I reflected on my teen years. I guess one can say I got the quarter-life crisis early.  That’s the interesting thing isn’t it? Traumas come and go through the body and it took me that long to remember it and get it out. So, then I typed it out and submitted it to publishers and each one got declined. Afterward, I let it sit for a while and in 2019 I bought myself a higher end computer, downloaded some publishing software, taught myself to design and went down the self-publishing route. I’ve never been prouder to complete it this efficiently on my own.

Authors' Spotlight


Today I’ll be hosting author  Carol Ann George PhD on my blog. She is the author of “Sandwich Spanish-Painless Spanish: No Grammar-No Rules” that aims to help readers speak fluent Spanish easily.

Carol Ann George PhD

Me: Tell us something about your journey with Spanish.

Carol: I grew up hearing Arabic, the language of my parents, close relatives, and families that came from our village,in Lebanon, hearing the language daily and singing Arabic and Aramaic songs in the Maronite church. I developed an ear for mimicking sounds that were very similar to Spanish, such as the rolled r and sounds made in the back of the throat.

When I was in the 3rd grade, our school piloted a Spanish program, and I was invited to the local university to demonstrate its effectiveness. This was my first encounter with Spanish, and I loved it!After high school,  where I studied 3 years of Spanish, I traveled to Lebanon for six months with my aunt to build a school in our village. There I practiced Arabic and learned about my ethnic roots and ancient culture. When I returned to the U.S., I entered community ollege, then transferred to SUNY Buffalo whereI majored in linguistics. I continued my fascination with Arabic and Spanish, exploring their roles in a global society. However, I was still learning more about both languages, rather than acquiring skills that matched the many years I had spent studying them.

In my junior year of college, I met my husband, who had come from Mexico to study  English at the English Language Institute at SUNY Buffalo, after graduating in engineering. We courted and married two years later, and after one year at Carborundum, and both having completed our master’s degrees, we were transferred to the Latin American operation in Toluca, Mexico. This is finally where the Spanish magic happened.

Once in Toluca, home to the Nevada de Toluca, a snow-capped volcano, my Spanish immersion experience began. In just eight months, I was able to claim a reasonable level of bilingualism. After having a repertoire of “hola, ¿cómo estás’, I was beginning to reach a comfortable level, speaking with confidence, which allowed me to succeed in getting most ofmy needs met.

As I began to speak  more fluently, I began working at ITESM, as Director of English.Later we moved north to Chihuahua, a large industrial city. It was the dawnof the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and at the request for language services from international companies, I followed mypassion and opened an adult language institute-Instituto Lingua Franca. Clients from all over the world were trained in English, Spanish, and bi-cultural training. Mexico was the turning point for my bilingual Spanish journey.

Becauseof my bilingual skills in Spanish, I was granted a research fellowship to pursue a PhD in  Foreign and Second Language Education. This enhanced my professional profile andallowed me a new and exciting career in higher education. From 3rd grade to a PhD, I have been gifted with a lifetime of unforeseen opportunities, and fortunate timing throughout my Spanish journey.